“The Mondeo will be a rational, reliable business purchase," says Roelant de Waard, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain. He expects 70% of sales to be to fleets, 70% to be diesel and 70% to be the five-door hatchback model.
"But we want this car to tempt user-choosers and private buyers, too," he added.
Ford is confident that the new Mondeo’s residual values will outperform Saab, Toyota and Vauxhall competitors over three years/60,000 miles.
De Waard added: "We have worked with CAP to achieve a 10% improvement in residuals compared with the outgoing car.
"We are not suddenly going to sell to BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 drivers, but I am confident we are going to sell to an increasing number of these customers. We have already seen this with the S-Max." Ford says it has set realistic UK sales targets of 48,000 Mondeos per year, with less cars going to daily rental companies to help improve residuals. There will also be less discounts, the company pledges.
De Waard believes the new Mondeo will be the key competitor for the Volkswagen Passat but adds: "Keen pricing means Mondeo will still compete with our traditional rivals too."
The range now starts with Edge models from £15,010 for the 1.6-litre petrol five-door as LX versions have been discontinued because Ford wants the Mondeo to be considered more upmarket. Even this entry-level model has air-conditioning and cruise control. Diesel versions will cost from £16,500 for the 1.8 TDCi.
The full engine choice comprises four Duratorq diesels and five Duratec petrol engines including a new 2.3-litre petrol with 158bhp. The diesel engines produce 3% less CO2 overall and the petrol engines 10% less.
The predicted sales mix is 29% Edge, 33% Zetec (from £16,710), 20% Ghia (from £18,460) and 18% Titanium X (from £20,460). Ford says more than half of S-MAX sales are currently top-spec Titanium models and it believes Mondeo can achieve the same.
Mondeo: First impressions
When a car has been as successful as the Ford Mondeo replacing it is scary, especially when in some areas its rivals have not caught up with its abilities.
But to its credit Ford has aimed high, building a range of models that not only improve the car's impressive dynamic abilities but lift the Mondeo’s appeal nearer to image conscious prestige car buyers.
For a start it has enormous presence, with lots of detailing that catches the eye - there are no less than three different sorts of headlights for instance.
The goal was to make the car appeal not just to fleet buyers but also user-choosers who previously might not have thought of the M-word when selecting their next car.
Upmarket features were also needed such as colour screen satellite navigation, cruise control which adjusts distance to the vehicle in front, optional sports suspension and even switchable suspension which you can change for long motorway hauls or to enjoy a twisty road.
On a more practical note, Ford has solved the problem of mis-fuelling diesel with petrol and vice-versa with a filler neck which expands or contracts according to the pressure put on it by the end of the nozzle. And to make life even easier you just have to flip the filler flap because there is no separate cap to remove.
Ford often changes the names of its cars when it launches a new model, but decided early on to stay with Mondeo because the company was proud of nearly four millions sales over the past 13 years.